Three girls from high schools across Santa Barbara County earned All-CIF honors for their strong performances.
In Div. 3, San Marcos’ senior libero Grace Matthews earned the first All-CIF honor of her career. She was great for the Royals in the postseason, tallying a total of 124 digs in her three matches, including 47 against South Torrance in the second round of the playoffs in which San Marcos battled back from a 2-0 deficit to win in five sets.
She averaged nearly 40 digs per game in her final seven matches of the season.
Matthews also earned Co-MVP honors in the Channel League for her performance this season. She is the only member of the Channel League to be named to an All-CIF team and is one of two liberos on the Div. 3 team.
In Div. 6, Cate’s senior libero Grace Blankenhorn earned a spot on the All-CIF squad.
“I am very honored for the award, but the success of our team came from the hard work and positive team spirit from the whole team. They are truly what made my last season so amazing,” Blankenhorn said.
Blankenhorn had a combined 46 digs in her two postseason matches and was an instrumental key to the team going undefeated in Tri-Valley League play. Blankenhorn also earned MVP honors of the Tri-Valley League. She is the only TVL player to make an All-CIF team.
“Grace was the fuel to the fire on the team. The old saying in volleyball is ‘it all starts with a pass,’ and it was Grace who started each play with a perfect pass. The coaches never had to think twice about her role on the team or on the court. In timeouts, Grace gave valuable input for defensive reads and strategies against the opponent. It’s not too often a Libero receives CIF honors which is why this is extra special for the coaches and Grace,” Cate coach Greg Novak said.
Finally, in Div. 8, Alina Urzua earned a spot on the All-CIF team. Urzua was key in Bishop Diego’s first CIF win since 2002 when it defeated Pacifica Christian of Santa Monica in the first round. Urzua tallied seven kills on a very efficient .600 hitting clip.
She would add double-digit assists in the Cardinals second-round win and 34 assists, six kills, 12 digs and two aces in Bishop Diego’s five-set loss in the quarterfinals.
Just a sophomore, Urzua has still not reached her potential of how dangerous she could be for the Cardinals in the coming seasons.
“We’re really happy to see Alina’s hard work pay off with her being recognized by CIF as one of the best players in our division. She continues to lead the program in the direction I believe will lead to our continued success for her next two years as a Lady Cardinal and beyond. I’m looking forward to her growth as a young student-athlete and leader on our campus, and I’m one of the lucky ones with a front-row seat,” Bishop Diego coach Dillan Bennett said.